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In early February, I went on my annual ski/snowboard trip. From great friends to fresh powder to bougie après-skis, nothing was missing. Well, except one thing. People of color. As an avid snowboarder who's been at it for more than 40 years, it's not like I haven't noticed this before. However, I really found myself thinking about it. Why are there such historical barriers?

A few weeks later, during a flight home from a business trip, I found myself seated beside Arthur, a 71-year-old African American. Despite my usual inclination to retreat into my headphones, Arthur's infectious smile compelled me to engage in conversation.

As we exchanged tales of recent travels, Arthur astutely remarked, "My people, we don't ski much." He elucidated that while economics plays a role, deeper cultural factors are at play. Skiing and snowboarding are activities predominantly learned in childhood, and historically, Black individuals haven't felt welcome in traditional ski destinations.

Arthur then turned to me and asked, "So … what did you do for Black History Month?" My blank stare answered for me, and suddenly I wished I was wearing my headphones.

The first couple of weeks in February, I liked, loved and even reposted items on Instagram supporting Black History Month. But as nice as that felt at the time, sitting next to Arthur, it felt embarrassing. I confessed to him my superficial engagement with the month's significance. "Don't be embarrassed," he said. "I know plenty of African Americans who didn't do much either." He chuckled and said, "I like to call you all slacktivists."

He wasn't wrong. His gentle encouragement to support Black-owned businesses was not earth-shattering advice, as I'm pretty sure I liked or loved a few posts on Instagram telling me to do the same thing. Arthur's best advice came as we landed: "Do you know why Black History Month is in February?" he asked. My blank stare once again answered for me. "Look it up!"

A few days later I couldn't shake Arthur's questions, so down the rabbit hole I went.

I discovered its roots in Negro History Week, initiated by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926, which later expanded into a monthlong observance officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. It is held in February because it is the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Back to Arthur's question about what I personally did for Black History Month. The answer? Not enough. And, why only one month?

We shop, eat out, eat in and do activities every day, so I began with the obvious. A simple Google search, "Black owned businesses in the Twin Cities" told me that one of my favorite night spots, Cobble Social House, is Black-owned. The next time I'm at the Mall of America, I will stop by 5bulouz to check out the clothes. I love candles and want to visit the candle store Kobi Co. in downtown Minneapolis. As a coffee junkie, why not shake up my morning routine and grab a cup at The Get Down Coffee Co.? And, I need to go to Slice Pizza, Minneapolis's first Black-owned pizza spot.

If I'm feeling too lazy for brick and mortar, I could buy my sister-in-law a cool handbag for her birthday from arwaybags.com or check out potsh.com, a new lifestyle brand that launched this past month in conjunction with Black History Month. Both are Black-owned online businesses from Minnesota natives.

What if I'm staying home continuing to master my culinary skills? A search of "recipes in honor of Black History Month," and I was set. (Side note: I had no idea that banana pudding was attributed to the African American community. I always gave my Aunty Phyllis credit!) However, from sweet potato pie to red beans and rice, I am inspired to explore African American culinary traditions. If I'm really going to channel Arthur, I won't just make the meals, I'll be sure to talk about them with whoever is at the table eating them.

As for events and activities, in February there were lectures, music performances, dances and more available to the community, none of which I attended but plan to next year. Thankfully some places such as the Minnesota History Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art do have exhibits related to Black History Month on display until June.

Mostly thanks to Arthur, I am climbing out of my rabbit hole and doing more than just like or love on Instagram. One thing I know is that I can't look at these as a to-do list and that once I've checked them off, I am done. That is superficial engagement no different from showing support on social media. It starts with awareness that is going to lead to ongoing action.

I hope to have real answers that I am proud of should I find myself sitting next to him again on an airplane. Doesn't look like I'll be bumping into him on a chairlift anytime soon.

David Stillman, of Minnetonka, is a generational expert and author.